My Tax Dollars at Work

Oct 21, 2011 | 0 comments

Great-Grandpa Richardson

     Where is my great-grandfather Daniel Richardson (1851-1922) now that I need him?  He was Assistant Postmaster in San Francisco for forty years.  Surely he was wise in the ways of bureaucracy and could have helped guide us through this muddle of “potential” closure of the Oysterville Post Office.  Certainly he would be more helpful (even dead these ninety years) than the woman from Representative Jaime Herrera’s office was yesterday.
     Ms. Jessica Wixson called from Washington D.C.  At first I thought she was responding to my appeal to Rep. Herrera (or someone from her office) to attend the informational meeting concerning the post office fiasco here in Oysterville.  Wrong!  She was calling, not in response to me, but because one of my neighbors asked her to.  I had the fleeting and uncharitable thought that I was the wrong political party to warrant a call on my own merits.
     The call went downhill from the get-go.  No, they would not be able to attend the meeting on Monday.  Too busy.  But someone could be here to meet on Wednesday.  Just with me.  “To what purpose?” I asked.  “So that you can tell us how the meeting went,” was the response.
     Stupid me.  I thought I was asking Rep. Herrera (as well as all our other Congress people) to be here Monday night so that they could advocate for us in some way – by their presence, if nothing else.  Wrong again.
     She listened politely but without comment to my concerns about the flawed investigative report – that it states that Oysterville and its post office have no historic merit, that it does not provide assistance to the handicapped or senior citizens (excuse me?), that upon closure we could go to Bay Center (47 miles away) for our mail etc.  In each instance, I tried to give her an accurate account of our post office and our community.  Her response to all of that was to ask me if I truly understood the reason for all of these post office closures.
     Ms. Wixson went on to talk about “beyond the economic turn-down” and the “competition from email” etc. etc.  I finally had to tell her that, although we are isolated here in Oysterville, we do get the news from outside the town limits.  Sometimes even by mail.
     She also said in an understanding tone that she knew that many older citizens were uncomfortable with technology and shared that her own grandparents did not “do email.”  I guess she thought I could relate to that since I had mentioned remembering in the 1950s when another effort was made to close our post office.  Quick calculating on her part, I’ll give her that.
     Her final question:  “What is your relationship to the post office?”  I’m sure I was a bit inarticulate at that.  Relationship?  My relationship is with my husband was the thought that came to mind.  My response:  “I’m a postal patron.  I get my mail at the Oysterville Post Office.”  Somehow, from the silence on the line, I felt I had failed the test…


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